The ultimate question might be: What must we learn and what can we do so that as many women as possible on this planet can give birth to babies and placentas thanks to the release of a cocktail of love hormones?



Hannah, ME, et al. 2000. “Planned Caesarean Section versus Planned Vaginal Birth for Breech Presentation at Term: A Randomised Multicentre Trial.” Lancet 356:1375–83.

Krebs, L, and J Langhoff-Roos. 2003. “Elective Cesarean Delivery for Term Breech.” Obstet Gynecol 101 (4): 690–96.

Liu, S, et al. 2007. “Maternal Mortality and Severe Morbidity Associated with Low-risk Planned Cesarean Delivery versus Planned Vaginal Delivery at Term.” CMAJ 176 (4): 455–60.

Odent, M. 1999. The Scientification of Love. London: Free Association Books.

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Should Midwives Reinvent the Amnioscope?

by Michel Odent

Copyright 2006 Midwifery Today, Inc. All rights reserved.

Editor’s note: This article first appeared in Midwifery Today, Issue 80, Winter 2006.


English-speaking midwives might be surprised when visiting the website of the Clinique du Belvédère, a huge reputable maternity unit in Rouen (Normandy, France). They will read about routine admission amnioscopy by the midwife on duty. This means that when a woman in labor (or prelabor) arrives at the clinic, the midwife first checks that their amniotic fluid is clear.

An amnioscope is an endoscope, i.e., a tube the size of a finger (one of several calibers may be used, according to the situation) equipped with a light at one end. While doing a vaginal exam, the midwife can gently introduce the tube inside the cervix along her finger. Thanks to this rudimentary endoscope she can evaluate through the membranes the color of the amniotic fluid. More often than not she can see a beautiful clear liquid with some flecks of vernix. Then the midwife is completely reassured. Her level of adrenaline can drop. She knows that she can leave this laboring woman in peace for a long time. Since the duration of labor is to a great extent proportional to the level of adrenaline of the midwife, this practice can create the conditions for a fast and easy birth.

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